European Union & International Organisations; key historical events
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League of Nations
International Environmental Organisations
International Humanitarian and Justice Organisations
International military organisations
28/3/2017, Late this evening, UK Prime Minister Theresa May signed Article 50, triggering the exit process of the UK from the EU. The letter was delivered to Donald Tusk (Poland), President of the European Council, on 29/3/2017. The two-year negotiation process was started; however after the inconclusive UK General Election of 8/6/2017 this timetable was looking tight.
3/11/2016, Britain’s High Court ruled that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, could not trigger Article 50 to leave the EU without Parliamentary approval. This ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court. This opened up the possibility of Parliament severely delaying or even thwarting the Brexit process.
26/6/2016 The fallout from the Brexit vote continued. David Cameron delayed invoking Chapter 50, which would kickstart a 2-year procedure to negotiate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Cameron expressed a preference for his successor as Tory leader to undertake these negotiations. Meanwhile EU leaders were pressuring the UK to invoke Chapter 50 soon. The EU leaders feared further ‘Exit’ referenda in countries like France, The Netherlands, Denmark, possibly Sweden, in Spain, Greece, and even Germany and the Czech republic. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s, position seemed precarious as ten of his Cabinet resigned, over his lacklustre support for the Remain campaign. There was debate within the UK as to whether the Referendum result was actually binding, especially if a UK General Election ensued within a few months, which itself would require legislation to amend the five year rule for such elections. Also by this afternoon, nearly 3.4 million people had signed a petition asking for a second Brexit Referendum; some signatures were suspected of coming from outside the UK.
23/6/2016 The UK voted 51.9% to leave the European Union in the so-called Brexit referendum. David Cameron resigned as Conservative Prime Minister. The actual figures were, OUT, 17,410,742, IN, 16,141,241, Turnout = 72.2%.
19/2/2016, UK Prime Minister David Cameron concluded negotiations for a deal redefining the relationship between the UK and the EU. This was a preliminary move before a UK referendum to be held on whether the UK should leave the EU. On 20/2/2016 the date for this referendum was set for 23/6/2016.
4/1/2016, Sweden introduced border controls on the Oresund Bridge border with Denmark to try and slow the influx of migrants. In response Denmark introduced border controls on its German border. The Schengen ideal appeared to be unravelling.
30/6/2015, Europe’s refugee crisis continued To this day, illegal arrivals from 1/1/2015 totalled over 340,000. 102,342 refugees from the Middle East and Kosovo had arrived via Hungary; 132,340 from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan areas had arrived via Turkey and Greece; 91,302 from Africa had arrived via Libya and Italy, and 6,698 from Syria and west Africa had arrived via Spain.
19/4/2015, The heaviest casualty incident to date of the ongoing unofficial migrant sailings across the Mediterranean to Europe occurred this day, when 770 drowned as their boat sank off the Libyan coast. In September 2014 500 drowned off Malta, on 12/4/2015 400 died as their boat capsized off Libya and on 3/10/2013 368 migrants drowned off Lampedusa. Between January and end-July 2015 187,000 migrants had arrived in the EU; 96,971 arrived in Italy, 88,695 to Greece and 1,674 had arrived in Spain.
14/11/2012, Protests in Greece, Portugal and Spain against European austerity measures.
7/3/2012, The UN presented its report on violations of the human rights of gay people worldwide. Representatives of several African and Arab States walked out.
1/1/2012, The Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy seceded from Guadeloupe; thereby leaving the European Union.
31/10/2011, The global population officially reached 7 billion.
1/1/2011, Estonia became the 17th country to adopt the Euro currency.
14/9/2009, The UN adopted the principles of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ or R2P. This says that the sovereignty of States is not absolute in that the UN can choose to intervene when a state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and human rights violations.
1/4/2009, Albania and Croatia were admitted to NATO.
1/1/2009, Slovakia adopted the Euro, replacing the Koruna.
1/1/2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union.
29/10/2004, EU heads of State in Rome signed the Treaty and Final Act establishing a European Constitution.
1/5/2004. Ten more countries joined the existing 15 EU members. These ten were Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia.
29/3/2004, NATO was expanded to include Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
26/8/2002. The start of a ten-day ‘Earth Summit’ held by the UN in South Africa. Delegates promised ‘action not words’. The Summit was snubbed by President George Bush, who refused to attend.
2002, The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established. Replacing earlier ad-hoc United Nations tribunals, the ICC was set up to try individuals accused of crimes against humanity, genocide or war crimes. It is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
9/7/2002, The African Union (AU) was founded, as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity(founded 1963, dissolved 2002). The AU was idealistically modelled upon the European Union, with plans for a supranational government, administration, a Court of Justice, financial institutions and a peace and security council. There was also to be a pan-African Parliament, based in South Africa. However the required co-operation between African states has not so far been achieved,
1/1/2002, The majority of countries within the EU abolished their national currencies in favour of the Euro. Only Britain, Denmark, and Sweden retained the Pound Sterling and Kroner.
26/2/2001, The Treaty of Nice was signed by the 15 members of the EU, to enable the bloc to function smoothly after the 2004 enlargement to 25 member states. The scope of the national veto was reduced, and Parliamentary seat allocation for a 25-member bloc was agreed.
30/11/2000, Major demonstrations in Seattle against the World Trade Organisation meeting there.
30/4/1999, Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), bringing the total number of members to ten.
25/3/1999, The European Union adopted the Common Agricultural Policy, at a meeting in Berlin.
12/3/1999, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic joined NATO.
1/11/1998, The European Court of Human Rights was instituted.
10/2/1998, Maurice Schumann, European statesman, died.
2/10/1997, The Treaty of Amsterdam was signed, further integrating the European Union.
8/7/1997, NATO invited the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999.
13/12/1996, Kofi Anan became the 7th Secretary General of the UN.
12/10/1999, According to the UN, the world population reached 6 billion.
18/6/1999, Anti-Globalisation protests in many cities around the world, some of which became riots.
1998, The European Central Bank was founded.
12/1995, The World Trade Organisation was officially founded.
1/1/1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the European Union.
1993, NAFTA, North American Free Trade Association, was founded.
15/12/1993. Completion of the GATT Uruguay Round.
9/11/1993. The UN said the number of refugees worldwide rose from 2.5 million in 1973 to 19.7 million today
1/11/1993. The European Union (formerly EC) came into existence as the Maastricht Treaty came into effect for its 12 members.
2/8/1993. The UK ratified the Maastricht Treaty.
1/2/1993. The EC began formal talks on admitting Austria, Sweden, and Finland by 1995.
1/1/1993. The European Single Market came into operation. Apart from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, and Greece, passports would not be needed at frontiers within the EU. British shoppers began to take advantage of more much relaxed limits on the amount of alcohol and tobacco they could bring back from France.
20/9/1992. The Maastricht issue split the EC, with France voting narrowly for it but Denmark voting narrowly against it. The idea was to further integrate Europe. British politics was also split with ‘Euro-sceptics’ on the Conservative back benches harassing John Major, Prime Minister.
7/2/1992, The Maastricht Treaty was signed, founding the European Union.
22/5/1990, NATO Ministers cut defence spending, the so-called ‘Peace Dividend’.
1989, APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, was founded.
1989, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was set up, following a G7 Summit. It is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at preventing money-laundering. After the 9-11 attacks of 2001, the FATF also took on the role of preventing funds reaching terrorist groups.
18/12/1989, The EC signed a 10-year trade pact with the USSR.
2/3/1989, All 12 EC nations agreed to ban the production of CFCs by 2000.
1/7/1987, The EC passed the Single European Act.
21/9/1986. The Stockholm Accord was signed, at a 35-nation conference. Advance warning of troop movements by NATO or the Warsaw pact was agreed.
26/5/1986, The EC adopted a starred flag.
1/1/1986. Spain and Portugal became the 11th and 12th members of the EC.
25/12/1985, Comic Relief, a global poverty relief charity, was founded.
4/1983, The start of the European Round Table (ERT). The Chief executive of Volvo organised a meeting with the heads of 15 oher large European corporations, including ICI, Fiat, Nestle, Philips and Unilever, to seek ways to ‘haronise trade rules in Europe’. This was to enable these companies to reach the economies of scale necessary to compete with non-European companies. The ERT presented its proposals to the European Commission in January 1985. The ERT’s proposals included the Channel Tunnel and the Denmark-Sweden Bridge, and a Europe-wide system of high speed trains and road highways. The ERT also wanted, and got, monetary integration and enlargement of the European Union.
7/7/1982, Hungary became a member of the World Bank.
6/5/1982, Hungary joined the International Monetary Fund.
23/2/1982. Greenland, a Danish territory, with home rule, voted to leave the EC.
1/1/1981, Greece joined the EC.
30/5/1980, EC Foreign Ministers agreed to reduce Britain’s annual contribution to the EC by around 25%.
30/10/1976, The EEC agreed to introduce a 200-mile fishing zone from 1/1/1977.
13/7/1976, Roy Jenkins became President of the European Commission.
1975, The ‘G7’ was founded. A group of seven countries, later to become 8 with the addition of Russia, who met to decide economic policy and sometimes to co-ordinate strategy.
28/5/1975, 15 West African states signed the Treaty of Lagos, setting up the Economic Community of West African States.
25/11/1974, U Thant, Burmese diplomat and Secretary-General to the UN 1962-71, died.
1/2/1973, The Common Agricultural Policy of the EEC came into operation.
1/1/1973. Britain, Denmark, and Ireland joined the EEC, enlarging it from 6 to 9 countries.
17/10/1972. European Communities Bill received Royal Assent.
31/7/1972, Paul Spaak died, aged 73. He had been one of the chief architects of the European Community (EC).
21/12/1971, Kurt Waldheim succeeded U Thant as Secretary-General to the UN.
21/5/1971. French President Pompidou said the UK could join the EEC.
See also Great Britain for events relating to UK-Europe relations
negotiation s opened in
30/6/1970. Britain began negotiations to join the EEC, following De Gaulle’s resignation in May 1969. Ireland, Denmark and Norway also began negotiations to join.
19/12/1967. Second French veto by De Gaulle on British membership of the E.E.C. The pound was devalued, and Harold Wilson made his ‘pound in your pocket’ television speech.
27/11/1967, De Gaulle vetoed
8/8/1967, ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) was founded. The original members were Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. East Timor attempted to join, post-independence, but was blocked by Indonesia.
6/10/1966, The EEC published
an adverse report on the
10/11/1966, The UK held discussions about entry to the EEC.
1963, The African Development Bank was founded. Based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, its function was to make loans at preferential rates for African development schemes. Funded by both individual countries and other multinational organisations, it began operations in 1966.
25/5/1963, The OAU (Organisation of African Unity) was founded at Addis Ababa.
14/1/1963. De Gaulle vetoed
18/12/1962, PM Harold
MacMillan of the
30/11/1962, U Thant to be next UN Secretary General.
14/11/1962. Britain resumed negotiations to join the EEC. Macmillan and De Gaulle talked at Rambouillet on 15-16/12/1962. However De Gaulle was intransigent, fearing the UK would import US influence into Europe. De Gaulle resigned in May 1969.
3/7/1962. France recognised Algerian independence, after a referendum; this also entailed the departure of Algeria from the EU.
14/1/1962. The European Economic Community agreed on a Common Agricultural Policy.
8/11/1961. Negotiations with Britain began in Brussels to join the Common Market.
30/9/1961, The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) was founded in Paris.
10/8/1961. Britain first applied for membership of the EEC.
18/7/1961. The six Common Market countries issued the Bonn Declaration aimed at political union.
28/5/1961. Amnesty International was founded in London.
14/9/1960, OPEC was set up by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
3/5/1960, The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was founded in Geneva. It had seven members; Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, and Portugal.
23/2/1959. The European Court of Human Rights sat for the first time.
16/4/1958. The EEC, the
25/3/1957. Six nations signed the Treaty of
26/10/1956, The United Nations approved the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
7/5/1956. The inaugural meeting of the Western European Union Council.
1955, CENTO (Central Treaty Organisation) was formed. It was a political/military alliance, comprising the UK along with Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan, whose purpose was to defend against any possible aggression from the USSR. Iraq withdrew in 1958 and CENTO ceased to exist when Iran also withdrew after the 1979 Revolution.
5/8/1955, European Monetary Agreement signed.
27/4/1955, The First Bandung Conference ended (started 18/4/1955). This was a meeting of 29 newly-independent African and Asian countries who were keen to distance themselves from the USA/USSR superpower rivalry. Nations in attendance included China (Zhou Enlai), India (Nehru), Cambodia (Sihanouk), Burma (U Nu), and Egypt (Gamal Abd-al-Nasser). The presence of China signalled that country’s determination to pursue its own brand of Communism, independent of Russia, The Summit, held in Bandung, Indonesia, was a major foreign policy triumph for Indonesian President Sukharno.
8/9/1954, The Treaty setting up SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organisation) was signed at Manila.
31/5/1954, The first Bilderberg Group meeting concluded (opened 29/5/1954). The group, of politicians, royalty and industrialists, was named after the hotel where this initial meeting, now held annually, first met; the Hotel Bilderberg, Oosterbeek, The Netherlands.
18/5/1954. The European Convention on Human Rights came into force.
10/1/1953. First meeting of the European Coal and Steel Community.
10/8/1952. Inauguration of the European Coal and Steel Community. See 28/4/1949 and 16/4/1958.
27/5/1952, The European Defence Community was set up
4/2/1952, The United Nations Disarmament Commission first met.
31/12/1951, The Organisation of American States was founded in Washington DC.
1/7/1951. The Colombo Plan was founded in Sri Lanka, to aid the development of south east Asia.
18/4/1951. The European Coal and Steel Treaty was
19/9/1950, The European Payments Union was established.
9/5/1950. The Schuman Plan lead to the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community.
7/11/1949, The first meeting of the Council of Europe; Spaak was the Chairman.
3/8/1949, The Council of Europe came into being.
3/5/1949. The Council of Europe was established,
after a ten-state conference in
27/4/1949, The Commonwealth was founded in London.
4/4/1949, The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington. NATO was set up on 18/3/1949, by Britain and seven other European countries. Denmark had agreed to join on 25/3/1949. Eleven countries signed in total.
25/1/1949. COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) was founded in Moscow.
10/12/1948, The United Nations issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
16/4/1948. The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was set up, see 14/12/1960.
11/12/1946, The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund was set up to provide aid to children in war-torn countries.
19/11/1946, The first General Conference of UNESCO was held at
4/11/1946. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and
Cultural Organisation, was established, with headquarters in
19/9/1946. Winston Churchill, in
30/1/1946. UN General Assembly met for the first time, in
10/1/1946, The League of Nations was officially dissolved, after 26 years, and replaced by the United Nations.
1945, The International Monetary Fund was founded. The World Bank was founded. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) was founded.
26/6/1945, The Charter for the United Nations was signed by the US.
25/4/1945, An international conference to establish a world security organisation, the ‘United Nations’, opened in San Francisco.
20/10/1943, The United Nations War Crimes Commission was formed.
18/5/1943, UNRRA was founded.
11/1939, The Nobel Peace Prize Committee decided that the annual Nobel Peace Prize would not be awarded this year.
8/4/1938, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, was born.
1930, The Bank for International Settlements was founded.
5/9/1929. Aristide Briand, the French Prime Minister, proposed a United States of Europe.
15/2/1922. The first session of the Permanent Court of International Justice was held in The Hague, Netherlands.
16/12/1920. Permanent Court of International Justice established at The Hague.
13/11/1920. The first full
session of the
1/2/1920, The first full session of the League of Nations opened at St James Palace, London, overseen by the British Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour. Plans were made for an International Court of Justice.
19/1/1920, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary of the United Nations from 1982, was born.
10/1/1920. The League of Nations, whose function was
defined on 28/4/1919, legally came into being at
11//4/1919. The International Labour Organisation was established.
22/1/1917, US President Woodrow Wilson delivered a speech to the Senate, ‘Peace Without Victory’, condemning European imperialism and militarism and calling for a League of Nations.
1913, Plans were drawn up for a worldwide map at a scale of 1:1,100,000. The project was interrupted by World War One, but the United Nations revived the project in 1953. The entire map series was never completed.
30/10/1910. Henri Durant, Swiss founder of the Red Cross in 1863, died.
22/1/1909, U Thant, diplomat and Secretary General to the
United Nations, was born in
18/10/1907, Plans were announced for an International Court of Justice, to be set up in The Hague.
29/7/1899. At The Hague, a conference of 26 countries established a permanent international court of arbitration.
2/10/1889, The first Pan-American Congress met, in Washington. Its aim was to create closer relations between the States of the Americas.
6/6/1882, The three-mile limit for territorial waters was established by the Hague Convention.
1870, The British Red Cross was founded.
29/10/1863. Swiss philanthropist Henri Dunant founded the International Red Cross after witnessing the tending of the wounded at the Battle of Solferino, near Mantua, north Italy.
17/2/1863, Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant proposed the International Red Cross in Geneva.
1859, Henri Dunant travelled through the site of the Battle of Solferino, a few days after the actual battle in June; 15,000 lay dead and wounded, and many of the wounded lay for days before anyone came to care for them. Many of these died of their wounds before medical attention arrived. This sight led him to establish the Red Cross.
16/4/1855, The Declaration of Paris was signed.
8/5/1828. Jean Henri Dumont, Swiss philanthropist and founder of the International Red Cross, was born in Geneva.